Will Grass Seed Germinate on Top of Soil? | Jonathan Green (2024)

Will grass seed germinate on top of the soil? Yes; in fact, germination will suffer if too much soil is placed on top of the seeds. The experts at Jonathan Green recommend placing a thin layer of mulch or topsoil over them to help keep them moist and warm and promote growth.

The Jonathan Green name has represented genetically superior grass seed, innovation, integrity, determination, and a commitment to lawn excellence since 1881.

Today, six generations later, we are industry leaders in organics and have developed Black Beauty® grass seed mixtures as well as organic and traditional soil amendments, lawn fertilizers, and control products that feed your lawn AND your soil.

About Seed Germination

Depth of Planting

Grass seed needs to be planted only ¼ inch deep and pressed into the loosened soil. If planted much deeper or covered with an inch or two of fresh soil, you have planted too deep and the seed will not germinate.

To get your new turfgrass seedlings off to a good start, we recommend placing a very thin layer of our Top Dress™ Seedling Cover and Growth Accelerator to protect them from washouts and conceal them from birds.

The biodegradable green mulch swells to encase the seed in a warm moist blanket. Once the new grass plants are rooted, the mulch biodegrades and disappears into the soil, so there is no need for removal. Mow the new lawn when the turfgrass reaches three inches tall.

Germination Time

The germination time for grass seed ranges from 5 to 30 days depending on the variety you plant. It can be longer than this in cooler temperatures.

At Jonathan Green, we mix elite varieties of Kentucky Bluegrass seed as well as tall fescue and perennial ryegrass to create our Black Beauty® Ultra Grass Seed. This seed germinates in 7 – 14 days, as do many of our other grass seed blends.

If this is not fast enough for you, consider Jonathan Green Fast Grow Grass Seed. Thanks to the annual ryegrass we include in this mixture, which is the fastest germinating grass seed variety, you can expect this seed to germinate in 7 days. It is designed to fill in troubled areas in lawns or grow an entire new lawn quickly.

We take every precaution to ensure that our Black Beauty® seed will germinate. However, do not expect all seeds to sprout at the same time. If you wait the expected time and there are still no signs of life, the culprit may be the lack of soil moisture or soil temperature that is too cool or too warm.

Old Seed

On rare occasions, the age of the seed can be a problem. To test if your grass seed will germinate, wet a paper towel or toilet tissue and put it in a cup. Spread a small amount of seed on the wet paper and cover the cup with a plastic bag. This creates a little greenhouse environment. If the seeds are good, you will see a small shoot emerge that will be either white or light green in color.

Growing grass for your lawn involves more than just watering and waiting. Visit Jonathan Green online to learn more about whether grass seed will germinate on top of the soil and about turfgrass seed germination.

Will Grass Seed Germinate on Top of Soil? | Jonathan Green (2024)


Will Grass Seed Germinate on Top of Soil? | Jonathan Green? ›

Will grass seed germinate on top of the soil? Yes; in fact, germination will suffer if too much soil is placed on top of the seeds. The experts at Jonathan Green recommend placing a thin layer of mulch or topsoil over them to help keep them moist and warm and promote growth.

Can I just throw grass seed down on dirt? ›

The aeration is able to loosen the soil and also activate the nutrients and make it easier for the seed to absorb when it is putting down its roots. Both of these treatments are performed right before the seed has been planted. If the seed is just thrown on the ground it will cause poor germination.

Will grass seed germinate on bare ground? ›

Will grass seed grow if not covered? Yes; but there is more to know when seeding your lawn. Grass seed is resilient. Some seeds on the soil's surface will sprout in spite of harsh treatment, but the germination rate will diminish and you will waste your investment and hard work.

Will grass seed grow on packed soil? ›

If you do nothing and simply throw some seeds into hard-packed dirt, the chances of grass growing are slim. You might get some isolated turfs but not a uniform lawn. You should work on the soil before. Prepare it and give it the right characteristics before sowing the grass seeds.

Can I sprinkle grass seed on bare spots? ›

Watering a bare spot will not get the grass to regrow. Site preparation is needed. Before planting the seed, please ensure that weeds, existing grass, sticks, and rocks are removed. After cleaning the area, rough up the soil or lay down some fresh topsoil.

What happens if you don't bury grass seed? ›

Many people think that you should bury grass seed for it to germinate. Surprisingly, this is not the case. Grass seeds germinate just fine if you scatter them on top of the soil.

Should I put topsoil down before grass seed? ›

Prep the lawn for seeding

Luckily, getting it right is easy. 'To prepare your soil before planting grass seed, simply till and loosen the soil to create the best growing conditions – you don't need to put down topsoil,' says Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love.

Can you put too much grass seed down? ›

Quality grass seed labels include guidance on optimal seeding rates to maximize your results. Don't overdo or cut corners. Too much grass seed causes undue competition for resources such as light, water and nutrients, and grass seedlings struggle as a result. Too little seed leaves lawns thin or bare.

How to get grass seed to germinate quickly? ›

Use a "mist – lightly water – deeply water" process like this: After seeding and fertilizing, you'll want to keep the top inch of soil moist until the seeds start to germinate (aka sprout). This means misting the area once a day, maybe twice if it's unusually hot out there—but don't let the area get soggy.

Will seeds germinate in topsoil? ›

Any standard gardening project will require topsoil in order for your seedlings to flourish. However, while you can use soil from your existing garden, this is not advised as there is a likelihood that any disease or insect larvae can be unwittingly potted alongside your seedlings.

How to tell if grass seed is germinating? ›

The most straightforward way to know if your grass seed is germinating is to look at it. If the seed's sprout is pushing up through the soil, it has successfully germinated. If there are no sprouts after two weeks, check the seeds.

Why is my grass seed not growing after 2 weeks? ›

'There are several possible causes that may prevent the grass seed from growing, such as poor soil quality, inadequate sunlight or water, temperature extremes, bad seed, and pests,' says Susan Brandt, Co-Founder of Blooming Secrets.

Are you supposed to rake in grass seed? ›

Remember, lawn grass seeds only need to be lightly raked into the soil, or even just scattered directly on the soil surface.

Does grass seed need to be watered every day? ›

Normally a lawn should be watered deeply but infrequently, but when you are watering for new grass seed, you must water every day. Set automatic timers for about 5 to 10 minutes, early in the morning, and again at mid-day. Watering done by hand or hose-end sprinklers must be consistent and evenly applied.

How to break up compacted soil for grass seed? ›

Core aeration is considered the best and most effective way of loosening your compact soil. Other methods of aeration, such as spiking, don't remove any soil from your lawn, so they can actually make your compaction issue worse. During core aeration, tiny plugs or cores are pulled up throughout your yard.

How to loosen compacted soil for grass? ›

Loosening compacted soil can be done in a number of ways. For larger lawns, you can use a core aerator, a gas-powered machine that will remove small plugs of soil from the ground. It can also be done manually with a manual core aerator which has a handle and a foot bar with several hollow tines or spikes attached.

How to fix compacted lawn soil? ›

How to fix compacted soils
  1. Amend your soil by adding organic matter, like compost. Decomposing organic matter helps build soil aggregates.
  2. Aerate the soil, which removes small plugs of soil to alleviate compaction and prevent thatch accumulation. ...
  3. Get planting! ...
  4. Not all weeds are bad!

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